Recent events at the European Parliament
MEPs elect new President
At the beginning of the January Plenary Session, the European Parliament elected a new President who will have this role until the next European Elections in June 2014. In the first and only round, 387 MEPs voted for German Social Democrat MEP Martin Schulz, giving him the absolute majority required. He replaced Polish MEP Jerzy Buzek. Mr Schultz defeated two challengers from the UK: Conservative Nirj Deva received 142 votes and Liberal Democrat Diana Wallis received 141. In his inaugural speech Mr Schulz said: "We must grasp the fact that people in Europe have little time for institutional debates because they are too busy worrying about their future, their jobs, their pensions...This Chamber is the place where the interests of the people are defended." His full speech is available on the President's new website.
Danish EU Presidency
Denmark has taken over the Presidency of the EU Council of Ministers from 1 January until 30 June this year. On Wednesday 18 January, Danish Prime Minister (and former MEP) Helle Thorning-Schmidt presented the Danish Presidency's priorities for the next six months in the European Parliament. Among the priorities are a firmer budget discipline, growth and jobs, green policies, ensuring safety of citizens and strengthening the voice of Europe in the world. In an interview after the debate, she said that one of the biggest challenges for the EU this year will be to defend and stabilise the euro. She said: "Denmark as a country will participate as much as it can in the financial compact and we will help to bridge whatever we need to bridge between the euro and non-euro member states." A video of her address to the European Parliament is available on the European Parliament's website.
100 days of the "Parlamentarium"
Over 64,000 visitors interested in how the EU and Parliament work have visited Europe's largest parliamentary visitors centre in its first 100 days. The Parlamentarium allows children and adults to discover Europe's history and how the decisions that influence our daily lives are made in a modern and interactive way. It is ranked among the top things to do in Brussels on "Tripadvisor"! The visit is accessible in the 23 official EU languages, including with sign language in English. Admission is free, it is open seven days a week and the centre is fully accessible to visitors with special needs. It also offers a role play game in which students can step into an MEP's shoes. More information on how to visit is available on the Parliamentarium's website.
News from Scotland's MEPs
Ian Hudghton MEP has welcomed the commitment in the European Commission 2012 Work Programme to publish a blueprint to safeguard water resources.
George Lyon MEP has warned that the European Commission's plans to compensate farmers affected by trade deals with South America are a poisoned chalice and should be rejected.
David Martin MEP has welcomed the European Parliament's approval of tougher rules on electronic waste in the revised Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive.
Alyn Smith MEP has welcomed a £50 million loan from the European Investment Bank to the University of Edinburgh to help support projects including the newly created Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation.
Struan Stevenson MEP has issued a call for feedback from the fishing industry on the final draft of his report to the European Commission on a key section of Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) reform.
Catherine Stihler MEP has called on the European Commission to respond to the breast implant crisis by setting up a registration system to ensure that women are informed about manufacturers.
Scottish MEPs' Committees
Ian Hudghton MEP remains a member of the Fisheries Committee (PECH). He is also a substitute on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO).
George Lyon MEP has been voted Vice Chair for the Budget Committee (BUDG). He remains a member of the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee (AGRI) and a substitute on the Fisheries Committee (PECH).
David Martin MEP remains a member of the Committees for Constitutional Affairs (AFCO) and International Trade (INTA). He also is a member of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI).
Alyn Smith MEP remains a member of the Agricultural and Rural Development Committee (AGRI). He also is a substitute on the Industry, Research and Energy Committee (ITRE).
Struan Stevenson MEP has retained his position as Vice Chair of the Fisheries Committee (PECH) and remains a substitute on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee (ENVI).
Catherine Stihler MEP remains a member of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO) and a substitute on the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON).
Recent Events in Scotland
European Parliament Office in Scotland 2012 Calendar - 7th December, Edinburgh
In December, the European Parliament Office in Edinburgh hosted an exhibition to launch the Scottish edition of the European Parliament's 2012 Calendar. It featured the best entries from about 1000 primary school children across Scotland who participated in the calendar competition with the theme "European emergency number 112". There are pictures of the event and the winning drawing on our website.
Seminar: France, the G20 and the Euro Crisis - 15th December, Edinburgh
Marking the French presidency of the G20, the European Parliament Office in Edinburgh, the Consulate General of France and the Franco-Scottish Business Club hosted a lecture by Mme Laurence Dubois-Destrizais, Minister Counsellor for Economic and Financial Affairs to the French Embassy in London, on "France, the G20 and the Euro crisis". Mme Dubois-Destrizais particularly focused on the role and interests of the UK in the international and European economic and financial spheres. Her presentation was followed by a lively discussion.
Our New Facebook Page
The UK Offices of the European Parliament now have a Facebook page, where we are posting details of our events, news, activities of UK MEPs and 'food for thought' ok EU issues that affect the UK. You can find us at http://www.facebook.com/EPIOUK.
Upcoming events at the Edinburgh Information Office
LUX Prize Screening - 13th February, 18:00, Glasgow Film Theatre
As part of the Glasgow Youth Film Festival, Glasgow Film Theatre (GFT) and the European Parliament Office will host a screening of one of the nominees for the European Parliament 2011 LUX Prize. Play by Swedish film-maker Ruben Östlund is set in Gothenburg. Over the course of a tense afternoon in central Gothenburg, five African immigrant boys toy with three well-heeled teens. The outcome, essentially, is the theft of a mobile phone, but the boys' purpose is also more subtle and sadistic - a complex 'game' of intimidation that takes advantage of white liberal guilt and political correctness. One of the outstanding titles at Cannes last year, this is a provocative, unsettling film that you'll be pondering for days. A panel discussion will follow the screening. The screening is free but ticketed; tickets are available from the GFT Box Office. More information is available on the Glasgow Film Theatre's website.
International Women's Day - 8th March, Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh
On International Women's Day, Labour MEP Catherine Stihler will be among the keynote speakers a conference organised by Engender, entitled: "Women in Scotland 2012 - The Big Picture" at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh. The day-long conference is sponsored by the European Parliament Office in Scotland and it is an opportunity to hear speakers and take part in discussions around: gender budgeting, occupational segregation, welfare reform and poverty, childcare, women in the economy, criminal justice system and rights legislation, trafficking and prostitution, child poverty, women and enterprise, care, rural women, temporary special measures, women in political and public life, stereotyping and cultural prejudices, gender and asylum, equality before the law, violence against women, older women and more. This is a free but ticketed event. You can register online at http://womeninscotland2012.eventbrite.co.uk or contact Karen@engender.org.uk or call 0131 558 9596.
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